Alice Burdick Schweiger Special to the Jewish News
Keep this list of Tony-nominated Jews by your side as you watch the big event — plus what’s new and hot on and off Broadway.
The Tony Awards air June 10 on CBS at 8 p.m., hosted by Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban and broadcast live from the Radio City Music Hall. SpongeBob SquarePants and Mean Girls lead the pack with 12 nominations each, with The Band’s Visit — a stage adaptation of an Israeli hit film — following right behind with 11 Tony nods.
Here are some of the new Broadway and Off-Broadway shows with a Jewish connection:
Angels in America stars Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield, who were both nominated for a Tony. Written by Tony Kushner, this Pulitzer Prize-winning epic revival, set in 1980s New York City, tackles Reaganism, McCarthyism, immigration, religion, climate change and AIDS. The play is performed in two parts and is both heartbreaking and hilarious. The show closes July 15. At the Neil Simon Theatre. (877) 250-2929.
The Band’s Visit tells the delightful story of an Egyptian band that arrives in Israel to perform in a concert at the Arab Cultural Center. After a mix-up at the border they find themselves in the wrong town with no bus out until the next day. They are taken in by local Israelis and their lives become poignantly intertwined. The show stars Tony Shalhoub. The Band’s Visit, with 11 Tony nominations, was a movie in 2007. Music and lyrics by David Yazbek, directed by David Cromer and book by Itamar Moses — all three are Tony-nominated. At the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. (212) 239-6200.
Carousel, set in a small New England town, is a revival with music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Carnival barker Billy Bigelow becomes romantically involved with a young woman who gives up everything for him. Cast includes Joshua Henry, Jessie Mueller and Renee Fleming. The show has 11 nominations. At the Imperial Theatre. (212) 239-6200.
Children of a Lesser God, written by Mark Medoff, stars Joshua Jackson (The Affair) and Lauren Ridloff. This revival of a 1980s play is about a speech therapist who works at a school for the deaf. While trying to teach the school’s deaf cleaning woman to speak and read lips, they fall in love. At Studio 54. (212) 239-6200.
Escape to Margaritaville is a feel-good jukebox musical featuring the music of singer songwriter Jimmy Buffett. Vacationers come and go at a run-down Caribbean hotel, but one Ohio tourist, a scientist traveling with her engaged BFF, captures the attention of Tully, a beach bum / hotel guitar-playing singer. After a week together on the island, can this unlikely couple wind up together? Gary Adler, a University of Michigan grad, did the dance music arrangements. At the Marquis Theater. (877) 250-2929.
Frozen, a stage adaptation of the hit animated Disney film voiced by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel, is based on the Hans Christian Andersen story of a princess who freezes everything she touches. The song “Let It Go” won an Oscar. The cast includes Caissie Levy and Robert Creighton. Music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. The show has three Tony nominations, including Best Book by Jennifer Lee. At the St. James Theatre. (866) 870-2717.
Getting’ The Band Back Together tells the story of Mitch, who has always dreamed about being a rock star but left his dream behind for a secure high-paying job. His company fires him on his 40th birthday so he moves back home with his mom in New Jersey. When their house is about to be foreclosed, he gathers his old band buddies together and they enter the Battle of the Bands contest. Starring Marilu Henner, Mitchell Jarvis, Garth Kravits and Jay Klaitz. Previews begin July 19 and the show opens Aug. 13. At the Belasco Theatre. (212) 239-6200.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two transferred from the London stage with seven members of the British company. The story continues about author J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard Harry Potter, his friends and his son, who time-travels to save the world from the evil Lord Voldemort. Among the ensemble cast is Madeline Weinstein. The production, which garnered 10 Tony nominations, is presented in two parts and meant to be seen in order on the same day (matinee and evening) or the next day. At the Lyric Theatre. (866) 250-2929.
Mean Girls, a musical adaptation of the 2004 film of the same name (which itself was based on the 2002 book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman), centers on a popular high-school clique, a newbie in town and the wannabes. Earning 12 nominations, the book is by Tina Fey, music by Jeff Richmond (Fey’s husband) and lyrics by Nell Benjamin. One of the producers is Lorne Michaels, creator and executive producer of NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Ashley Park, nominated for Best Featured Actress and one of the leads, is from Ann Arbor and a University of Michigan grad. At the August Wilson Theatre. (800) 745-3000.
My Fair Lady, with 10 Tony nods, is a revival of the classic musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. A linguistics professor turns a cockney street flower seller into a proper lady who can pass as a member of high society. The book and lyrics are by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Frederick Loewe and directed by Tony-nominated Barlett Sher. The beloved musical score includes “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “The Rain in Spain.” The show stars Norbert Leo Butz, Diana Rigg, Lauren Ambrose and Harry Hadden-Paton. At the Vivian Beaumont Theatre. (212) 239-6200.
Once on This Island is a revival of the 1990 musical. A fearless peasant girl falls in love with a young man she saves from a car crash on a Caribbean island. He’s from the wealthy side of the island, ruled by four island gods who try to reunite the couple. Music and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty; directed by Michael Arden. At the Circle in the Square Theatre. (212) 239-6200.
SpongeBob SquarePants, with 12 Tony nominations, brings to life the Nickelodeon cartoon series about the undersea residents of Bikini Bottom. Starring Ethan Slater (who spent summers at Camp Ramah when he was younger), who was nominated for Best Actor in a musical. Book by Kyle Jarrow, songs by music-industry giants including Steven Tyler, Cyndi Lauper, They Might Be Giants, Jonathan Coulton, Sara Bareilles, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Plain White T’s and David Bowie. Directed by Tony-nominated Tina Landau. At the Palace Theatre. (877) 250-2929.
Three Tall Women, starring Tony-nominated Laurie Metcalf, Glenda Jackson and Alison Pill, is a revival of Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Three women at different stages in their lives (ages 92, 52 and 26) talk about their lives and relationships. Are they the same woman? Ann Roth is nominated for Best Costume of a play. The show closes June 24. At the John Golden Theatre. (212) 239-6200.
Goldstein recreates a tell-all family memoir. This uplifting and heartwarming multi-generational musical explores the challenges and triumphs of three generations of an immigrant Jewish American family. Lyrics are by Michael Roberts and book by Charlie Schulman. At the Actors Temple Theatre. (212) 239-6200.
Strictly Orthodox. The UK’s only strictly Orthodox Jewish stand-up comedian Ashley Blaker takes on why Jewish holidays are so different from everyone else’s. He also talks about how Orthodox Jews manage in the workplace when they cannot shake hands with people of the opposite sex, why Jews around the world are obsessed with sushi — and more. Through June 28. At the Jerry Orbach Theater. (212) 921-7862.